How Jon Conquered Negativity And Lost Over 200 Pounds!

Once Jon Welch learned to ditch his all-or-nothing mentality and make small, sustainable changes, he discovered the key to achieving his fitness goals.

For years, Jon Welch didn't think his weight was an issue. After all, he grew up as a kid of normal body weight, going about life as you would expect of any normal kid. He played, he ate without worrying about the "cleanliness" of his food, and yes, he continued to grow and gain weight, albeit a bit more than he meant to. Still, he didn't think he was "fat."

That all changed, however, beginning with some seemingly harmless teasing at school. "My peers pointed out my 'chubbiness,' which impacted me, because I started to believe that I was—at my core—fat," Jon recalls.

Unfortunately, just like that, Jon began to wrap his identity around the very idea of being fat, and acted according to the way society deemed a "fat person" would: He ate more.

Throughout the rest of high school and early adulthood, Jon continued to let his eating and personal life spiral out of control to the point of utter misery. One day, while consulting with his friends to troubleshoot his life, Jon keenly remembers one particularly poignant remark: "The way you look outside is often a reflection of who you are inside."

That comment proved to be a revelation for Jon and initiated the craving for change that would eventually turn into an insatiable appetite for continuous self-improvement.

What undermined your previous attempts to lose weight?

When I attempted my first weight-loss journey shortly after high school, I committed myself fully to the cause. Clean foods and exercise every day after work, no matter what. I must have done something right, because I lost weight and became fairly strong!

Before 430 lbs.
After 197 lbs.
Age: 31
Height: 5'10"
Weight: 430 lbs.
Body Fat: 30+%
Age: 35
Height: 5'10"
Weight: 197 lbs.
Body Fat: 11%

However, life happened and I never learned to manage my priorities. Fitness was still an important aspect of my life, but I let it consume my life rather than enhance it. I finally realized that the problem was in my all-or-nothing mentality: If I couldn't be all in, I didn't want to be "in" at all.

How did you overcome the setbacks caused by your attitude?

I quickly began to realize that the more I changed the way I viewed myself—and consequently, others—the more it affected my decision-making in all areas of life, including how I ate and how much I cared about my health and outward appearance. What my friend said was true: If you are mentally and emotionally undisciplined, your body will show it. I started losing weight, feeling better physically, and treating others with the similar love I now had for myself.

I started losing weight, feeling better physically, and treating others with the similar love I now had for myself.

Through all this, I found my friends and family to be generally supportive. I have been blessed by that, for sure. Keep in mind that when you embark on a journey to change your life, your efforts will cause a ripple effect and begin to influence those around you.

You'll start to see your friends and family as the "old you," and you must employ patience and understanding to help them arrive at their own "aha moment" and begin this journey.

What changes did you make at the beginning of your transformation?

I didn't return to the gym right away. I merely started out watching my sugar, fat, and sodium intake. I thought that, by minimizing two ingested sources of energy, I would make my body use up its stored energy (fat). I also thought that if I wanted to be smaller, I shouldn't eat things that would make me retain water (like sodium), right?

It all seems kind of bro-sciencey now, but it worked well—in fact, it's how I lost most of my weight. I didn't count calories, but by eliminating those calorically-dense food items, your overall calories will inevitably be lower anyway.

Since diet alone had helped so much, how did you convince yourself to add an exercise regimen?

It took me a few years to work up to stepping into the gym again. I was driven by the desire to "tone up" and put on size, as I was a bit embarrassed by my loose skin. Plus, I sought health and strength, not only being "lighter."

At the same time, everything, including creating meal plans, setting goals, and getting serious, all finally clicked. That powerful combination made it easy to stay focused and disciplined.

Tell us about the times you wanted to quit. What did you do to overcome this?

I have at times asked myself, "Why am I doing all this?" When that thought came up, I remembered that life is long and that healthy living is not a season—it's about continual progress and refinement.

When I have bad days, I remember my all-or-nothing attitude from before and realize how much my mindset has changed. I no longer get emotional over "failed moments." It's an opportunity to get and be better.

I will say, however, that a lifelong approach to being fit requires emotional strength. You have to want it and dig into yourself and your life for inspiration. No one can give that to you. Remember, you are exactly where you've chosen to be. That may sound harsh, but it's reality. When you own that, you dictate your level of future success.

What was the hardest part of the transformation process for you?

Sorting through all the opinions from gym peers, supplement distributers, videos, and magazine articles was the hardest part. I discovered that no one knows my own body like I do. While I learned different methodologies, I had to think for myself. If I had done, took, and ate everything the experts suggested, I'd have gone broke and would have been working out and doing food prep eight hours a day!

A lifelong approach to being fit requires emotional strength. You have to want it and dig into yourself and your life for inspiration.

Having a friend going on a similar journey was a huge help and inspiration as well. Although we didn't lift together, we shared lifting videos on YouTube, and spoke quite a bit about fitness. We kept each other accountable and made it fun by texting one another when we knew the other was at a place where they could make poor nutritional choices—old fashioned accountability.

What was the most important discovery you made throughout this journey?

I realized that fitness should enhance my life, not become my life. I believe this should be true even if you're in the industry for a living. Be decisive and clear when creating a goal, and then commit to seeing it through. If you haven't reached the desired result by the end, you've just learned something about yourself and can reassess your goal.

Experience has shown me that the most unsuccessful people in the gym—or in life—are those that waffle back and forth when chasing a goal. Your mind needs to be strong before your body has a chance to follow suit.



We Want Your Story!

Have you transformed your body by burning fat or building muscle? We want to tell your story. Send your before and after photos, plus a brief paragraph about your experience, to transformations@bodybuilding.com for a chance to be featured on Bodybuilding.com!


Where will fitness take you next?

I honestly don't want my body to be the defining message I give to others. Rather, I'd like my process and a practical mindset to be what resonates most with people. If I could speak to the idea of health, food, fitness, and relationships, and help people who are having trouble with their own journey, I think I would be answering my true calling in fitness.

Supplements that helped me through the journey


Diet plan that guided my transformation

I've had many meal plans throughout my journey, but my plan I'm following right now is geared toward cutting fat and retaining as much muscle as I can.

Meal 1

Brown rice: 1 cup


Flax oil: 2 tbsp


Hardboiled egg whites: 3


Psyllium husk fiber: 12 g


Whey protein 1 scoop


Meal 2

Pinto beans: 2/3 can


Hardboiled egg whites: 2


Meal 3

Brown rice: 1 cup


Hardboiled egg whites: 2


Psyllium husk fiber: 6 g


Whey protein 1 scoop


Meal 4

Chunk white albacore tuna: 4 oz.


Hardboiled egg whites: 2


Meal 5

Steamed spinach: 10 oz.


Chicken breast: 8 oz.


Brown rice: 1 cup


Meal 6

Casein protein: 1 scoop


Hardboiled egg whites: 2


Psyllium husk fiber: 6 g



Training regimen that kept me on track

I only lift three days a week because of my current lifestyle and professional commitments. I target these muscle groups because of my body type and because I enjoy it. I end all workouts with a few ab exercises and 15 minutes of HIIT on the stairmaster.



Day 1: Biceps
1

Standing EZ-Bar Curl

3 sets of 6 reps
EZ-Bar Curl EZ-Bar Curl

Superset
2

Standing EZ-Bar Curl

2 sets of 4 reps
EZ-Bar Curl EZ-Bar Curl

Dumbbell Hammer Curl

2 sets of 8 reps per arm
Hammer Curls Hammer Curls

Superset
3

Reverse curl with EZ-bar

4 sets of 8 reps
Reverse curl with EZ-bar Reverse curl with EZ-bar

Dumbbell Hammer Curl

4 sets of 8 reps
Hammer Curls Hammer Curls

4

Cable-machine curl

Start at 2-rep max and drop weight, adding 1 rep until failure.
Standing Biceps Cable Curl Standing Biceps Cable Curl

5

Cable-machine Reverse Curl

4 sets of 8 reps
Reverse Cable Curl Reverse Cable Curl

6

Seated Dumbbell Curl

3 sets of 8 reps per arm
Seated Dumbbell Curl Seated Dumbbell Curl

7

Dumbbell Hammer Curl (Seated)

3 sets of 8 reps per arm
Hammer Curls Hammer Curls

8
Machine Preacher Curls Machine Preacher Curls


Day 2: Chest/Triceps
1

Dumbbell Bench Press

4 sets of 8 reps, decrease weight, and do 2 sets of 8 reps
Dumbbell Bench Press Dumbbell Bench Press

2

Machine Incline Chest Press

6 sets of 10 reps
Leverage Incline Chest Press Leverage Incline Chest Press

3

Seated Chest Press

4 sets of 8 reps
Leverage Chest Press Leverage Chest Press

Superset
4
Decline seated machine chest press Decline seated machine chest press

Cable Cross-over

4 sets of 8 reps
Cable Crossover Cable Crossover

5

Pec-deck machine

4 sets of 8 reps
Butterfly Butterfly

6

Dip

3 sets of 8 reps
Dips - Chest Version Dips - Chest Version

7

Push-up (various hand positions)

to failure
Pushups Pushups

8

Triceps Push-down

5 sets of 8-10 reps
Triceps Pushdown Triceps Pushdown

9

Triceps Reverse Push-down

5 sets of 8-10 reps
Reverse Grip Triceps Pushdown Reverse Grip Triceps Pushdown

10

Triceps rope push-down

4 sets of 8-10 reps
Triceps rope push-down Triceps rope push-down

11

Skullcrusher

4 sets of 8 reps
Skullcrusher Skullcrusher

12
Machine Triceps Extension Machine Triceps Extension


Day 3: Shoulders
1

Shrug

5 sets of 8 reps
Barbell Shrug Barbell Shrug

2
Seated Bent-Over Rear Delt Raise Seated Bent-Over Rear Delt Raise

Triset
3
Straight-bar standing front raise Straight-bar standing front raise

Front Dumbbell Raise

3 sets of 8 reps per arm
Front Dumbbell Raise Front Dumbbell Raise

Shrug

3 sets of 8-10 reps
Barbell Shrug Barbell Shrug

4

Military Press

4 sets of 8 reps
Standing Military Press Standing Military Press

5

Lateral Raise

5 sets of 6-10 reps
Side Lateral Raise Side Lateral Raise

6

Face Pull

4 sets of 8 reps
Face Pull Face Pull


Jon's Favorite Gym Tracks

Blue Stahli
"ULTRAnumb (Exterminated Remix by Exterminated)"
BT
"Suddenly (Celldweller Mix)"
Muse
"Map of the Problematique"
Celldweller
"First Person Shooter"
Blue Stahli
"ULTRAnumb (Exterminated Remix by Exterminated)"
BT
"Suddenly (Celldweller Mix)"
Muse
"Map of the Problematique"
Celldweller
"First Person Shooter"


We Want Your Story!

Have you transformed your body by burning fat or building muscle? We want to tell your story. Send your before and after photos, plus a brief paragraph about your experience, to transformations@bodybuilding.com for a chance to be featured on Bodybuilding.com!